A world without bees is sadly becoming more likely. In the last two decades, bee populations have been dying out due to a mysterious disease known as colony collapse disorder.
What is colony collapse disorder?
Colony collapse disorder was first identified in 2006. It is a complex phenomenon in which a dead colony is found with no adult bees and no dead bee bodies but with a live queen. It has proven to be the largest issue when it comes to honeybees and is triggered by a combination of parasites, pesticides, and the effects of climate change.
Parasites are becoming increasingly responsible for the death of the bee population. Parasites are blood-sucking organisms which attach themselves to bees and continuously reproduce within the colony.
Parasites are not the only concern for the survival of the bees. Ironically, pesticides which are designed to kill pests, have an adverse effect on bees.
Since the end of World War II, the use of pesticides in agriculture has risen exponentially. Of all the pesticides which are used, the neonicotinoid family of pesticides are the most intense and destructive. When a honeybee pollinates a plant which has been sprayed with neonicotinoids, the bee becomes contaminated and poisons other bees at the hive. The nervous system of the affected bees will become damaged, impacting the bee’s memory and sense of direction. When these pesticides are used in higher concentrations, they can also impact reproduction, leading to fewer offspring.
The extinction of a species is rarely discussed without mentioning the consequences of climate change. Climate change and extreme weather conditions are stimulating the spread of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) because they disrupt the normal seasonal timings. A combination of warmer winters, earlier springs, and an increasing number of days with extreme heat are altering the seasonal patterns the bees are accustomed to, leaving bees unable to pollinate and reproduce.
At the end of this bleak and pessimistic outlook on the future of the bee, you may be left wondering how long we would be able to survive without our buzzing friends? In the next blog post we will delve into the possibility of a future without bees and how our lives would be transformed without them.